Former US president Barack Obama is delivering a flagship speech as part of the late Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday celebrations.
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JOHANNESBURG - South Africa celebrates the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela&39;s birth this week with a flagship speech by former US president Barack Obama and an outpouring of memories and tributes to the late anti-apartheid leader.
Obama set the tone for the celebrations with a speech in Johannesburg that aides said will be his most important public address since leaving the White House in 2017.
"It gives him an opportunity to lift up a message of tolerance, inclusivity and democracy at a time when there are obviously challenges to Mandela&39;s legacy around the world," his aide Benjamin Rhodes told the New York Times.
Obama will also host a town hall event on 18 July for 200 young leaders selected from across Africa to attend a five-day training programme.
The former US president met Mandela only briefly in 2005 but gave a eulogy at his funeral saying Mandela "makes me want to be a better man" and hailing him as "the last great liberator of the 20th century".
The title of Obama&39;s Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture is "Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World."
Former speakers include Bill Clinton, Thabo Mbeki, Kofi Annan, Bill Gates and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.